Gotland: the Northern Capri, The Europe Trip for You

Medieval villages protected by UNESCO, excellent cuisine, white beaches and primordial nature. These are the surprises of Sweden’s largest island. This starts with Visby, a sparkling (and unexpected) creative enclave. What to see and what to do:

A legend tells that Gotland, the largest island in Sweden, was an enchanted land that rose every morning from the Baltic waters and then sank at sunset. When the god Thor brought you the fire the spell broke, but the feeling of how sometimes the border between legend and reality can be subtle in Gotland is really strong. The landscape already says it all: the island is a magical place shaped by the whims of the wind and a millenary history (the oldest remains date back to 5,000 BC), colossal boulders (the raukar, granite rocks left over from the ice retreat) high up to ten meters and very green meadows, windmills and medieval cities so beautiful that UNESCO protects them as a World Heritage Site. Before you visit the place, visiting happens to be an important matter.

Unesco heritage: here are the 51 Italian sites

Nothing fancy or touristic, though. This is the island chosen by the director Ingmar Bergman, who lived and set some films in the very small Fårö (no hotel, no banks or post offices). “In this landscape of Fårö, with its lack of colors, its hardness and its extraordinarily refined and precise proportions came to life. How it happened we do not know, but here I have taken root “.

This is an island so magical and authentic that it even inspired the writer Astrid Lindgren for the adventures of PippiLongstocking. With the exception of the Kneippbyn amusement park, in Visby, with Pippi’s house used as a set in the various films, there is no trace of display cases full of gadgets with iconic girls with orange braids. The spirit of the pestiferous girl with the monkey on her shoulder and a white horse lives again in the wild and true places, which invite to live a sparkling, holiday in total freedom, among wooden houses, sand dunes that descend to the sea and woods populated by elk.

Visby: Design And Good Cuisine

An hour’s flight from Stockholm and the island is considered by the locals to be the North Capri: Gotland is a limestone plateau dotted with scenic beaches and twisted rocks, where roses bloom until December and the temperature is mild. The first surprise is Visby, the capital. The unexpected curtain wall that surrounds it reveals its Hanseatic origin (it was the point from which the trade routes for Russia departed) and the row of pastel-colored houses edged with roses and walnuts overlooking the maze of narrow streets up above the hill, from which the view embraces the silvery sea, its vocation to beauty.

Here and there stand out houses with steep stepped gables, while towers and churches are everywhere, most of them from the Viking era. It is a pleasure to wander around aimlessly slipping into design shops to discover that Visby is today the effervescent creative enclave of young artisans. Or be surprised by the high quality of the cuisine and the raw material: truffles, asparagus, lamb, cheese (Stafva is a must, bought from Wisbyost) and wool, that of the famous native sheep, with a curly, gray and shiny fleece so famous that in Visby, instead of the median “penguins”, goats and rams of stone appear.